What I’m Feelin’ Friday #13

PARTY PEEOOPPLLLLEEEE!!! We did it! We made it to Friday!  High fives all around. This week has been long and I am more than ready for the weekend. What are your fun plans this weekend? On Saturday I am taking my CPR/First Aid certification so then I can take my Certified Personal Trainer exam later this Spring. It’s 6 hours of CPR…..6….whole…hours. If it turns out anything like this though, I’ll be ecstatic!

 

Ok now onto what I’m feelin’ this Friday.

#1- Running in shorts and t-shirt in February

70 degrees in February in Maryland?! Sounds like a mythical thing since a lot of us had to endure the polar vortex earlier this year. The weather these past 2 weeks have been glorious! All the popular running trails have been packed because I don’t think most of Maryland has been outside since December LOL. It has been SO nice to run in t-shirt and shorts. It means less laundry and approximately only 3.5 minutes to get dressed for my run in the morning.

#2- Friendly Garbage Men

These guys make my morning. Whenever I pass by them they yell, “Good morning young lady!” or my personal fav, “Hey little mama!” And they cheer me on as I run. It’s refreshing to start the day being kind to others. Try it!

#3- HoMedics Sleep Sound Machine

HoMedics, White Noise Machine, Sleep Sound Machine with 6 Nature Sounds and Timer, Spa Relaxation, Sleep Therapy for Home, Office and Travel, SS-2000G/F-AMZ Silver

Photo credit: Amazon

 

This sleep sound machine (<–referral link) is my precious!! I first discovered this sleep sound machine during vacation last summer. My boyfriend’s mom offered it up to us and I thought “why not?” and I got the BEST and deepest sleep with that thing I have ever had in my life! I tried to use some free apps but I thought the sounds were kinda weird and off? I mean for around $20, this thing is a steal. It has sounds of the ocean, rain, a brook, thunder, summer night, and white noise. Another plus to this machine is that it helps me get into my sleep routine too!

So tell me, what are you feelin’ lately? Leave a comment by clicking the link under the blog post title.

5 Key Factors for Selecting a Race

Hey gang! Lately I have been searching for a good spring race to keep me motivated during these dreary winter months. I have settled on the “Luck of the Irish” 10 Miler in Phoenixville, PA! I have spent hours pouring through several race review websites (www.runningintheusa.com, www.bibrave.com, www.raceraves.com) and it got me thinking…why do I pick one race over another?

It really boils down to 5 factors. If you stick with these 5 factors when selecting a race, it will save you hours of searching (analysis paralysis anyone?) and you will avoid losing money on expensive race fees.

#1 Budget

Cost is something to strongly consider when selecting a race. Do not sign up for a big race (e.g., NYC Marathon, Chicago Marathon, etc.) if you do not have the budget to spend thousands of dollars. When I signed up for the 2015 Boston Marathon, I was willing to accept the fact that I had to spend $600/night on the hotel alone. When you factor in flights, dining, activities, and race fees, I easily spent around $3500.

Could I have done Boston cheaper? Sure. I could have stayed outside of the city, ate cheap food, and did nothing other than run. But that’s not fun for me. I like to travel and experience new things.

With that said, my budget for races this spring is pretty tight. Therefore I am running 2 cheaper races, Clyde’s 10k and the “Luck of the Irish” 10 Miler. Each race is only $45 and other costs are minimal.

#2 Location

The location of a race is another important factor when selecting a race for several reasons. How long will it take you to get there? How will you get there? Is the terrain different from where you normally run (i.e., mountain versus coastline)? Is it several time zones away? These are all things to think about.

A good example of this would be signing up for the Big Sur Marathon (massive hills, west coast time zone) when you typically train on the Chesapeake Bay (flat, east coast time zone). I am not saying it can’t be done, because it definitely can! But did you incorporate hill training into your training? How do you adjust to different time zones?

If you find yourself in a similar scenario, I recommend getting to the race location a few days ahead of race day to get yourself used to the time zone change.

#3 Climate/Weather

Surely, the Key West Marathon in January sounds like a delightful break from the running we do in the bitter cold in the Northeast right? Not so fast. It takes about 2-3 weeks to get acclimated to warmer weather. Again, it’s doable but something to consider. If you happen to be in this scenario, I would recommend arriving to the warmer race location a few days ahead of race day to get somewhat acclimated.

Oh man now I am dreaming about a cheeseburger in paradise 😉

#4 Convenience

Although nice, a race necessarily doesn’t have to be the main event. Is there a race that coincides with an already planned trip? Is there a friend or relative you can stay with that lives near a race? Is the race on a holiday weekend so you don’t have to worry about taking time off work?

This is one of the reasons why I chose the “Luck of the Irish” 10 Miler. My boyfriend’s parents live near the race start and we will be visiting them that weekend anyway. So it keeps costs down because I don’t have to stay in a hotel or worry about any other additional travel costs.

#5 Does it make you feel excited?!

This is the #1 factor when choosing a race. You may have everything else lined up; budget, convenience, etc., but if you don’t feel excited about it, DO NOT SIGN UP. There have been plenty of races where I thought “oh man it’s not very expensive and it has good reviews”, but I just didn’t feel excited about it.  If you don’t feel excited about signing up, then I can guarantee you won’t feel excited come race day.

What’s helpful for me is googling “[Insert Race Name] race reviews” and other blogs will appear in the results. It’s a great first-hand account of what the race is really about.

To help me keep track of races that peak my interest (so many!), I made a Pinterest board called “Places to Race“.

 

So tell me, what are other factors that help you select which race to run? Click “Leave a Comment” under the blog post title.

 

 

 

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #12

Hey gang!! Pop the champagne it’s the weekend!! How was your week? This week’s What I’m Feelin’ Friday gives an inside look at just a few items that make my morning runs a bit better.

Grab your champagne flute and lets jump right in!

#1 EOS Smooth Stick

EOS Organic Lip Balm Stick - Vanilla Bean - 2 pk

Photo Credit: Amazon

I might get some hate mail for this, but I hated when the round EOS chapsticks first came out. I thought they were dry and didn’t do anything for my lips. So I’ve kind of been a hater, that is, until now. The other day I was ordering online from Ulta and in order to get free shipping, you had to spend $50. Why is it that every.single.time my cart total only comes to $49.98? So then I am searching for any dumb $2 item to get the free shipping. I added the EOS Smooth Stick (<–referral link) to my cart on a whim and I am so glad I did!

It sits in a bowl by my front door and I apply it before every run to help protect my lips against the dry air. Having things you need pre-run in a basket or bowl by your front door helps streamline your routine and gets you out the door quicker. The mornings when all my stuff is scattered around the house never seem to go well.

#2 SABRE RED Pepper Spray for Runners

Photo Credit: Amazon

This pepper spray (<–referral link) gives me the peace of mind I need when running outside. The strap makes it easy to carry and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. Luckily, I haven’t used it in a real situation.  Only have sprayed it every few months to see if it’s still good 😉

I keep this tucked away in a basket with all my other running gear like gloves, hats, lights, etc. so it’s easily accessible.

#3 Runner’s World Warm-up Daily Newsletter

RWwarmup

I read the Runner’s World Warm-up daily newsletter every morning before my run. It’s inspiring, insightful, and entertaining! Only takes 3 minutes to read but it’s so worth your time. Reading the RW Warm-up helps get me in a frame of mind and ready to run. It’s also a good reminder of why I love to run. You can sign up for Runner’s World Newletters here.

That’s all for now!

So tell me, what are you feelin’ this week? Leave a comment by clicking the link below the blog post title.

Week in Fitness: February 4-9

Hey guys! Sorry that I was MIA all last week. Had some family matters to take care of and family trumps everything else.

As far as fitness goes last week, I took it slow getting back into exercise since the week before I had experienced some hip pain. Here is how my week went:

Sunday, Feb 4– Yoga with my boyfriend’s sister

Monday, Feb 5– Rest day

Tuesday, Feb 6– Ran 3 Miles along the trails

Wednesday, Feb 7– Hot Vinyasa Yoga

Thursday, Feb 8– 3.2 mile run along the trails

Friday, Feb 9– Rest day

My goal last week was to just relax and enjoy working out instead of putting pressure on myself to perform. Yoga with Greg’s sister was a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from my normal workout routine. I especially enjoyed our trip to Whole Foods afterwards for “the essentials” aka coffee and random food haha.

Then there was the Hot Vinyasa Yoga….O.M.G.!!!! It was an incredibly hard class. I can barely touch my toes so when you ask me to twist my arm under my leg and grab onto my opposite hip, it ain’t happenin’.  Would I do this class again? Meh. Maybe if that was the only option available. Personally, I think some of the positions were a bit high risk. But I used my best judgment and would go into downward dog or child’s pose when I felt the position was a bit compromising to my goal of recovering and relaxing.

As far as my running goes, I took it a bit slower this week and changed my frame of mind from training to leisurely activity. This way, I don’t put any pressure on myself if I am not running fast enough or far enough. It was nice to slow down and keep a lookout for all off the wildlife on the trails. Got some pictures posted on my instagram @seehollyrun

So tell me, what did you do last week for fitness? How did it go? Leave a comment by click the “Leave a comment” link below the title of this blog post.

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #11

Hi friends! Happy Friday!! Hope everyone had a great week. I don’t know about you, but I am DEFINITELY ready for spring. Just to run outside in shorts and t-shirt would be GLORIOUS! I feel like during the winter months I do laundry every other day because of all the layers required to stay warm during my run.

In the meantime, here are some things I am feelin’ that are making my life a bit better…

#1 Spinach salad with warm bacon-mustard dressing

I am constantly on a search for new salad ideas. I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com and it has been a huge hit!  I have been eating it for lunch the past 2 weeks straight! The spinach provides a great dairy-free way to get some vitamin K (calcium) and there’s bacon.  What could you possibly NOT like?!

#2 Kilner Juicer Jar

This juicer (<–referral link) was an impulse buy this past week. A coworker gave me the most amazing looking orange from his trip to Florida and all I wanted to do was stick a straw right in that thing and suck down the juice.  But instead I got every last drop with the Kilner Juicer! I definitely look forward to using this more frequently for lemon and lime juice.

#3 Sweet Almond Oil

My friend Colleen introduced me to this all natural beauty product (<–referral link) to help with my dry skin. I have tried so many other creams that either didn’t work or would burn the crap out of my hands. This oil doesn’t leave my hands greasy and quickly absorbs into my skin, yay!! I love that it comes with a pump so I could quickly use it and not worry about accidentally putting too much on my hand and wasting it. Yay for winter skin relief!

So tell me, what are you feelin’ this week? Click “Leave a Comment” under the blog post title to comment.

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #10

Hey everyone! We made it to Friday!! Did anyone else feel like it was a long week? Between work and all the other life obligations, I am exhausted! Unfortunately, my hip has been hurting me lately so I decided to take a week off from running. I have been taking ibuprofen to help with the inflammation, as well as foam rolling, massage, etc. I’ll keep you all posted on my recovery. But for now, you know what time it is…another What I’m Feelin’ Friday! This week I’m feelin’…

#1- Bombas Socks

Knee High

Photo Credit: www.bombas.com

I first saw Bombas socks (<–referral link) on Shark Tank and thought, “meh just another pair of socks.” Well I guess Bombas bought a ton of Facebook ads because they were on my feed more than that friend who constantly overshares…you know the one. 😛 Well I happened to need some good pair of moisture-wicking socks for work that were also slightly dressy so I decided to give Bombas a try. I have tried every other pair of work socks with no luck, but Bombas hit the ball out of the park!  They are amazingly soft, warm, and moisture-wicking! I normally wear Balegas for running but will probably give these a try!

#2- Magnolia Journal

I LOVE the TV show Fixer Upper.  Who doesn’t? Chip and Joanna’s magazine Magnolia Journal (<–referral link) is not only eye candy for those who love home design, but they have some great human interest stories and fun lifestyle tips. I love how this magazine encompasses the feel of a warm home. I love Chip even more now because he is running a marathon!!  You can read his story about training for the marathon here.

 

#3- Mission BBQ

Sometimes, it’s life’s simple pleasures that can make all your worries go away. Things like, Mission BBQ! 🙂 On Monday I was already exhausted by the time I got home and wanted nothing to do with cooking. I wanted something “home-y” and filling so my mind immediately went to Mission BBQ. I normally get their pulled chicken sandwich with french fries and it just rocks my world. If you don’t live near a Mission BBQ, I’m sorry. 😛 But any BBQ will do! 🙂

So tell me, what are you feelin’ this week? Leave a comment by clicking the “Leave A Comment” just below the blog post title.

Top 5 Funny Race Signs

Hey guys! Hope you had a great weekend!  I saw a sign outside of our local ski shop that said, “We sell organic, gluten-free skis” and I thought that was hilarious!  It made my day a little better. It got me thinking about signs I see at races and how something so simple has the power to keep me going.

Here are my top 5 funny race signs:

1) “The end is near!”

I normally see this guy around mile 19 at the Marine Corps Marathon.  This is a spot where some humor is DEFINITELY needed because you have just run 2 miles on a highway with no shade, scenery, or spectators. Oh and you have about 7 more miles in the marathon left to run.

2) “I’m just trying to cross the street!”

I’m just trying to cross the street

Source: @joggingjeans on Twitter

I love signs that make it all about the spectator haha. This lady could care less about your darn race!  She is gonna be late to work! 😛

3) “Turn around! It’s a trap!”

But really…..what if it was?! Oh man and that guys facial expression! Classic!

4) “If a marathon was easy, it’d be called your mother!”

Ah yes, another classic I always see at races. I don’t think “yo mama” jokes will ever get old!

5) “Run like Trump is trying to grab your %$#$@”

Image result for funny marathon signs

Source: @onlyatoms on Twitter

Politics aside, this is freakin’ hilarious!

So tell me, what is the funniest sign you have ever seen at a race? Click “Leave a Comment” below the blog post title.

 

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #9

Hey gang!  Sorry I went MIA last week, things just got crazy with work and other life obligations #laundry. But I am BACK! Let’s jump right to it. Here are some of the things that have made my life better this week. This week’s list proves that the saying, “it’s the little things” is so true! 🙂

#1 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls w/ Rubber Grip Bottom

These Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids & Non-Skid Rubber Grip Bottoms Set of 3. By: Blümwares (<–Affiliate Link) makes meal prep so much more enjoyable. And this is coming from someone who views meal prep as a necessary evil. Why do I love these bowls so much? Easy.

  1. They aren’t plastic!!! I am a bit creeped out by the toxins in plastic containers. If I am taking the time to cook healthy food, why should I store that healthy food in an unhealthy container?
  2. The rubber grip on the bottom prevents bowls from easily sliding around on the countertop. READ: No spills.
  3. The tight sealing lids make it easy to store the bowl in the fridge.

I had been making western omelets for breakfasts and it’s nice to already have the sauteed bell peppers and onions in the bowl ready to go. I just grab the bowl out of the fridge, spoon the already sauteed bell peppers and onions into the pan and voila! Add ham, eggs, and cheese and you have an instant western omelet.

#2 My Intent Bracelet

I saw these My Intent bracelets on Instagram and loved the idea behind them. Having a powerful motto or slogan is essential not only in running, but in life. How great is it that we can just look at our wrist (or paw :P) and be reminded of something that is valuable to us?

My word for 2018 is purpose. I feel as though my purpose is to help people find their best self through fitness and wellness. It’s a topic I can talk about all day long, even when I am feeling extremely exhausted. So whenever I am feeling discouraged or tired, I just look at my wrist, see the word “purpose”, and it helps get my mind back in the game.

And yes, that is a picture of Tadd’s paw haha.  I just wanted to see if he would bother moving it.

#3 By The Book Podcast

By The Book

I have recommended several podcasts over the course of this blog and “By The Book” is the newest addition to my playlist. The hilarious hosts Kristen and Jolenta have to live by a self help book for 2 weeks and report their findings on the podcast.

They have tested several popular self help books such as, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”, “The Miracle Morning”, and “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. I love that Kristen and Jolenta do the dirty work for me and save me from reading an incredible crappy book or encourage me to read one that’s actually helped.

So tell me, what are you feelin’ this week? Leave a comment by clicking the “Leave A Comment” just below the blog post title.

 

 

Race Review: Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

Hey guys!  As you know back in December, I ran the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler in Baltimore. I posted the recap but now it’s time for the race review to see if it’s right for you! I judge races based on 5 categories; atmosphere, course, post race party, race swag, and logistics.  To read more about my rating system, check out my Race Reviews/Recaps page. Five medals is the highest rating a category can receive while one medal is the lowest. So what did I think about the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler?

Atmosphere

If you want to run a holiday-themed race, this is definitely the race for you!  Most people dress up in costumes or other festive gear that will surely get you in the holiday spirit. I would say people generally run this one for fun and run it with a group of friends. Not to say that you can’t go and compete, but if you do show up to compete, be sure to line up at the very front at the start line. There are not corrals at the start and everyone just kind of squeezes in at the last second before the gun.  The Irish Wolfhounds and bagpipes make this race even more festive and fun!

Course

The course itself is just okay. I wouldn’t say it was very scenic and pretty. There are quirky Baltimorean things you run by such as weird gazebos and a random graveyard by the tennis courts. At least it keeps it somewhat interesting? LOL! The course is hilly and challenging but I like that because it keeps you honest. I also like that you are always around people but it does not feel crowded.  I get my energy from others around me so I am not a fan of races where you are alone for a portion of the course.

Post Race Party

If I could give the post race party 6 medals I would!  The post race party is the reason I come back year after year.  Admittedly, I do not like to drink beer after a run. So races that offer that as their selling point do not appeal to me. But mulled wine after a blustery run? Perfection! After I cross the finish line I head right to the warm tent and grab a cup of mulled wine.  Then quickly head over the the table with all those yummy Italian cookies! It’s always nice to just hang out and relax after a race and I love listening to the bands at the after party. If you like a good post race party, this is definitely the race for you!

Race Swag

What I like about this race is you have the choice to opt out of the race premium, therefore saving money on race registration.  I don’t know about you, but in December my wallet is feeling a bit tighter than usual from buying presents. This year I chose to opt out but in previous years I have received the premium. Registration without the premium  is around $40 and registration with the premium is around $75. The value of the premium is about $65 (give or take) so the value is there.  It just depends if you want to spend the money or not. The previous year the premium was a very nice Brooks quarter zip long sleeve shirt that I wear often.

Logistics

When you have a lot of runners driving to a public park on the weekend with limited parking, there’s bound to be some chaos. I remember one year we were sitting on the off-ramp for 30 minutes to get to the start line. Another year they had to delay the start because a gate was stuck and prevented runners from getting to the start line.  This year we were turned around several times because random access roads were closed or the parking area was full. But honestly, my running partner and I expect this now so we do not panic or stress. Plus we are only running this for fun so we aren’t worried about getting to the starting area early. Even though the logistics aren’t the best, it won’t deter me from doing this race. The race organizer isn’t at fault and they really try their best to make it less stressful. I just think the race has grown in popularity and cannot handle the venue.

Overall

I really like this race and if there is a year when I cannot participate I’m definitely sad. If you are looking for a fun holiday-themed race with a great after party, then you must sign up for this one!

So tell me, have you run a holiday-themed race? If so, which one?

 

 

What I’m Feelin’ Friday #8

We did it!!  We made it to Friday!! It’s been a long week but luckily I have Monday off to relax and work on blog stuff.  This weekend I plan to run 5 or 6 miles, have dinner with my family, get my hair done, and relax a bit. I am so ready!

So let’s jump right into it! Here is what I am feelin’ this week.

#1- Up and Vanished Podcast

Oh.my.God. this podcast is amazing!! It’s very similar to the Serial podcast. In Up and Vanished, the host Payne Lindsey is trying to solve a 12 year old cold case of Tara Grinstead, a beauty queen from Georgia who went missing. I binged on this the entire week on my commute to and from work. The twists and turns in this crazy are so crazy. Almost like something straight out of a movie but it’s real life. Note: I do not recommend you this to this before you go to bed or before running on a trail in the woods.

#2 Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce

I may be late to the game on this one, but this marinara sauce is the best pre-made stuff I have ever had. I really wanted to like the Wegman’s sauces but they all taste kind of weird to me. I was so hesitant to buy Rao’s considering it’s around $7 for a jar, but it is 100% worth it.  The other week I made this crockpot lasagna with the Rao’s sauce and it rocked my world. Definitely will be making this dish again!

#3 Gone for a Run “Running Knit Hat – BOSTON 26.2”

I saw this knit hat back in December and knew I had to have it! I absolutely love the Boston Marathon as well as the city of Boston and wanted to show some love! Around the top of the hat it has all the towns you run through on the Boston Marathon course (Natick, Hopkinton, Brookline, Boylston Street, etc.) and on the cuff it says “BOS 26.2”. This hat is very warm and extremely well made. And for $20 I thought it was a steal! #BostonStrong baby!

And that’s all! Hope you have a relaxing weekend!! So tell me, what are you feelin’?